Ah sequels. They are such a good idea in theory, but so often they’re hit or miss. Do you play it safe and stick closely to what people enjoyed about the original game but risk being too similar of an experience? Or do you go in a totally different direction in an effort to explore the series from a different angle, but risk alienating those who loved the first game by being TOO different? For me, the answer is somewhere in the middle. A good sequel should build on the foundation of the game that came before it while expanding it in new ways and exploring different ideas that will ultimately offer a brand new experience while still feeling familiar to fans of the original. A tall order to be sure, bu that is the exact chord that developer Slothwerks has struck with Meteorfall: Krumit’s Tale ($6.99), the follow-up to their hit 2018 card-based dungeon crawler Meteorfall: Journey ($3.99).
What made the original Meteorfall so brilliant was its simplicity. You played against a deck of enemy cards and special event cards, and utilized your own deck, which you could add and subtract cards from, to perform your actions. All of this was built around a binary Tinder-like left/right swiping system. If a monster came up, you either fought it or you didn’t. If a weapon card came up, you either played it and attacked your enemy or discarded it and refilled some stamina. Whatever the case was, your options were always broken down into yes or no questions. This made Meteorfall: Journey an incredibly breezy experience that still had a good amount of depth and strategy, but its streamlined nature also meant you were resting heavily in the hands of the RNG gods. To enjoy Meteorfall meant enjoying that sometimes, through no fault of your own or your strategy, you’re just going to get the shaft.
This is probably the biggest departure with Meteorfall: Krumit’s Tale. Right off the bat you’re not playing against a deck that is randomly drawn one after the other, but you’re playing against cards from your own deck as well as enemy cards that are dealt onto a 3×3 grid. Well, I guess technically they’re tiles and not cards, but essentially they perform the same function. This very simple change opens up SO MANY possibilities and instantly makes Krumit’s Tale a great deal deeper than Journey. You now have a choice as to what tiles from the grid you want to deal into your playable hand, which ones you want to discard to earn back some resources, and then which enemies you want to engage in battle. There is a shop and treasure chests and other ways to come across new tiles, and you can again add and subtract them from your deck, and it’s important that you do so in order to come up with a focused strategy for your deck. But ultimately the multiple choices in Krumit’s Tale are what set it apart from the largely single choices you’re given in Journey.
The funny thing is that while Krumit’s Tale offers a deeper and more strategic game, it doesn’t replace Meteorfall: Journey for me. Going back and forth between the two has really reinforced that they can happily coexist with each other, and I’ll pick whichever one I’m in the mood for at that moment. A more straightforward and streamlined game with Journey? Or a deeper experience that requires me to think and strategize a bit more with Krumit’s Tale? The choice is mine and what a glorious choice it is to have to choose between two such outstanding games. If you were already a fan of Journey I’d find it hard to believe that you wouldn’t also enjoy Krumit’s Tale. It’s easy to see that the same DNA was used here but it mutated off into a whole new direction. If you’re new to the series there’s nothing wrong with jumping in with this new game, but you also could snatch up the first one while you’re at it since it’s currently only a buck and just go to town with all the Meteorfall goodness.